Women in California pay an average of roughly seven dollars per month for sanitary products like tampons and pads.
The sale of feminine hygiene products generates roughly $20 million in tax revenue for California every year. Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia says the tax on tampons is discriminatory.
“This is the only gender-specific item. So we’re saying that because you’re born a woman, we should be taxing you. Your body and your biology is a luxury. So yeah, it’s discriminatory,” Garcia added.
Assemblywoman Garcia created Assembly Bill 31, which would make sanitary napkins, tampons, menstrual sponges and menstrual cups exempt from all state and local taxes.
Experts from the Tax Foundation say a $20 million loss in tax revenue would need to be gathered elsewhere.
“What this does is make the sales tax less productive, meaning the rate has to be higher on everything else that’s being taxed,” said Nicole Kaeding, Vice President of Federal and Special Projects at Tax Foundation.
Garcia says the fiscal loss is a small price to pay for gender equality.
“When we look at it, it’s less than one-hundredth of one percent of our budget. I think if these dollars were in the pockets of these women, they would be spending them somewhere else,” Garcia said.
A similar bill passed both the Assembly and the Senate in 2016 before being vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown. Assemblywoman Garcia says she’s hopeful they’ll be successful this time around with a new governor.